Some days seem to have echoes: sounds of days in the past reverberating, whispering into my ear and telling me of a life that I lived; visions of days from another life, tantalizing me with what could have been; feelings of days from an unrealized future, curling up inside of me, making me aware of how warm they should feel, then leaving a vacant space inside.
As a highlydedicateddivorceddad, Mother’s Day is one of those days. When I had children, I never planned that I wouldn’t be with them and their mother, my wife at the time, to celebrate this special day. I never expected that I would wake up to an empty apartment on Mother’s Day, a father of two, a husband of none, a man alone.
Somewhere, in an alternate universe, I can not help but wonder if there is another me, waking up early and sliding out of bed, cooking pancakes with my two kids (“That one is a special one with a heart, daddy!”), and serving my wife breakfast in bed. Then we provide her with her favorite flowers (“Oh, they’re beautiful!”), and later voyage together for a walk at her favorite spot, then give her—
STOP!!!, I scream at myself- and I’m gonna pop a triple exclamation mark on that baby for good measure. There is no alternate universe! There was no wormhole that I fell through on a seemingly normal day at some point in the last decade. And even if I did, we have yet to develop the technology to adjust the space-time continuum. This is my one and only life- and it’s time to start living it!
So what did I do today? I called my own mom and told her I loved her. Since she was out of town, we couldn’t spend the day together so that will have to do. I texted the ex and said thank you for being such a dedicated mother to my two wonderful children. I vacuumed, did laundry, and watered my plants, domesticated ‘lonely guy’ that I am. For the most part, I stayed busy.
Perhaps I need to focus on the positive and not get maudlin about what’s missing and dwell on what’s right. Telling myself to do so is easy, but that doesn’t change the nagging pull of the echoes on my mind.
There is no other life for me, only this one. There is no way to change the past, no way to redirect the passage of time that placed me here today, alone, typing at this keyboard. There is no other present, no alternative me, smiling and playing games with his daughter while mommy has a late afternoon nap, then preparing a special Mother’s Day dinner. This is all there is.
But the future? The future unfolds in front of me, leading in a myriad of directions, as it always does. The future is always unknown, partially controlled by this highlydedicateddivorceddad’s thoughts and actions in the present.
These echoes in my mind don’t need to drive me to madness or pull me to sadness. Instead, let these sounds and visions provide the impetus for action, prompting me to set aside all I thought would be my life and create space for something new.
Happy Mother’s Day! I say it to my own mother and I say it to my own ex-wife- the two wonderful mothers who have been at the center of my life. I say it to all mothers, knowing what a crucial role mothers play in the lives of individuals and, consequently, the path of humanity.
And you know what? Crazy as it seems, I say it to me, as a gesture to consolidate the light and the dark, the right and the wrong, the feminine and the masculine, the regrets and the reality. This Mother’s Day- or any Mother’s Day from now on- may not be what I had planned but it is as it is- and that’s enough.